I’ve just been rounding off a 4,500 word piece for The Bulletin magazine on home theatre, which includes a section on the suitability of games machines for DVD playback. I got ahold of an XBox and a PlayStation2 to check these out. Irritatingly, they only come with a composite video connection as standard. Both support S-Video with the purchase of an optional cable, and the PS2 can do component video with a different optional cable.
For the XBox I had to talk to someone to find out about the cable because the XBox website is quite useless. Imagine having a product page for an expansion cable, yet not mention that the product also provides an optical digital ouput! Clearly, for proper DVD playback you need this since there’s no digital audio output on the XBox itself.
So, last night about 11pm I rang the XBox support number to find out some more details. The machine tells me that support is only available between 7am and 9pm. Fair enough. I rang back this morning and spoke to a lady with a US accent and she kindly provided the information I needed. US accents are not entirely uncommon here in Australia, but her accent sounded quite unblurred by exposure to Australia. So I asked where she was located physically. In the US it seems.
Why, then, since America sleeps while we are awake, and vice versa, do they not provide 24 hour support? It turns out that the support staff are dedicated to particular parts of the world, in her case Australia and New Zealand.